Much like the Star Trek movies, the Star Trek games have been a bit uneven. You had the great Interplay games in the nineties follows by some truly horrific titles that did absolutely nothing with the franchise. That all changed a bit a few years back when the fine folks at Bethesda Softworks purchased the rights to the games and started cranking out fairly solid games. Later this year they are releasing Star Trek: Conquest and our resident Star Trek guru was able to ask a few questions of the developer.
Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project? How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
My name is Frank Arnot and I am the Game Director/Producer on Star Trek: Conquest. I started in the games industry in 1994, working at DMA Design. I was a Programmer/Lead Programmer for a number of years before moving into Design and Production. What draws me to the Game Director/Producer position? It allows me to shape the product and give input on all areas of the game – who wouldn’t want that!?!
How will Conquest compare to previous Star Trek strategy games, like Armada, Bridge Commander and Legacy?
Conquest is closest to a hybrid of Legacy and Armada. It’s less combat simulation, like Bridge Commander, and more space action combat with a strategy wrapper.
What different modes will be in Conquest? You’ve announced that it’s solely a single-player experience, but will there be multiple options, like campaign and skirmish modes? Why did you decide to not include any multiplayer modes?
Conquest is single-player only. We decided not to implement a multiplayer game, instead choosing to focus on creating a better single player experience.
Conquest has two modes of play: Campaign and Skirmish.
Campaign Mode is the main mode of play – here the player must try to eradicate all other players from the map and achieve galactic domination.
Campaign Mode can be played against a variable number of opponents, which allows players to set up preferred battles (i.e. Federation Vs Dominion) and also affect the map layout. Variables such as AI difficulty, fog-of-war, and starting credits can also be changed.
Skirmish Mode allows the player to set up one-off Arcade Battles. These battles can be fully customized, allowing the player to choose the opposing races, their fleet sizes and composition, whether or not Starbases and defensive turrets are included, and in which of the 38 game levels the action takes place.
There are six playable species in the game. Could you explain each one, and their strengths and weaknesses? Do you have a personal favorite?
The Federation is the most well-rounded of all the Races but because of their central map position, can be hard to defend.
The Klingons have the toughest ships including excellent Scout ships - these are cheap to buy and have high Hit Points. Expect to face many squadrons of these smaller, faster ships from the Klingon Empire. The Klingons are the most aggressive of all the enemy races in terms of quickly expanding their empire.
The Romulans are much more cautious and tend to construct larger ships and fortify their systems well. They can construct their Dreadnoughts for a relatively cheap price. The Romulan turrets also have a high Hit Point value.
The Dominion have a great location on the map, with only one entry point to their Home World. Like the Romulans, the Dominion also prefer to build Cruisers and Dreadnoughts and have expensive, but tough Starbases. They also make good use of their Wormhole Generator super weapon.
The Breen like to build larger ships and are equally balanced in terms of seizing and defending systems. They also have cheap Cruisers and turrets compared to the other races.
The Cardassians have two movement Admirals allowing them to really move around the map. They have cheaper, yet weaker ships and Starbases.
My favorurite? Probably the Cardassians or the Klingons.
The title Conquest makes it sound like the concept of the game is to gain control of the galaxy. Will Conquest have any of the political or diplomatic elements that Star Trek touches on, or is the galaxy engulfed in an all-out war?
All out war! There just wasn’t enough room to squeeze in some politics and diplomacy!
What kind of story is in place? Will there be different endings for each playable species? Who is writing the story?
The game has the simple starting scenario of all races being in conflict and battling to achieve galactic dominion.
We've heard that the game takes place during the Next Generation era. Will famous ships and characters make appearances, like Captain Picard and the Enterprise D, or Captain Cisco with the Defiant? What about important players from the other species in the game?
We have used a selection of ships from the Next-Gen era, but are not focusing on all of the Star Trek characters.
Is any high profile voice talent signed on for the game? Legacy had all five captains in their respective roles. Is anything like that planned for Conquest?
No. Conquest does contain voice talent, but there are no well-known Star Trek actors involved.
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